I’ve never really painted. I used to compensate for my sports-idiotic self by dominating in my elementary school’s art classes… but I’ve never really painted. But there was an invitation to a FREE Paint-and-Wine event hosted by Yelp Tampa. Why not?

YelpPaint - Inside Look

Despite the plethora of Paint and Wine events, I’ve snubbed them for my preconceptions; it seemed snobby… rigid… silly… with friends I’d rather have a ‘cook night’ or go hiking. Creating art works never topped my list.

But as I gathered with other Yelpers inside Bottles and Bottega in Oldsmar I immediately felt… happy. It wasn’t just because my frozen knees were now protected from the cold night air but because the shop felt… familiar… like entering art class again. Colorful walls were dotted with simple, bright paintings (Definitely not Picasso but definitely above stick figures), acrylic paint and nametags all stood waiting at each seat, and snacks (and candy!) filled a small table. Even our instructor— her name was Tini… or was it Deeny? Tinee? (She said it sounded like the end of ‘martini’)— chatted with all the laughter, praise and comments worthy of teaching in grade school. Of course some of the chatter and the flowing wine brought me back to my age.

YelpPaint - Attitudes before painting
The two different ways Fiance Shoes and I prepare mentally for an evening of painting.

I’ll admit- as soon as I saw what we’d be painting, I was already scanning possibilities on how to make this sunset of silhouetted stalks all mine.

After a rough sketch for object placement, Tini / Deeny / Tinee instructed us to mix red, yellow, and white to create pale orange swatches. Then some faint lavender was blended in. Peach filled the rest. One color slowly transformed into another. Yellows and golds became our setting sun. Then as Tini/ Deeny / Tinee began instructions for filling in the dark ground- I knew this was where we parted ways. Someone else – whether by choice or accident – had already garnered praise with their slanted sky of colors looking more like a meteor shower than a sunset. I wanted my own attention!

YelpPaint - Background done
Whew – I think I’m done with this background and nobody died. That’s good.

Slowly flames rose against the sunset sky. I painted the dark ground as I waited for the flames to dry. Like the others I painted a few grass stalks… then added a spherical ship in the air… followed by an AT-AT… then a couple of TIE Fighters… then the spherical ship transformed into the Millennium Falcon. Suddenly the room paid me as much attention as Luke returning from destroying the Death Star. You can never go wrong with Star Wars. Others began also painting their own—I saw spiders, dinosaurs, birds, etc.

YelpPaint - Connection
“Awww” some Yelper commented. “Your paintings connect… but… what land has two suns?” IT’S CALLED TATOOINE DUHHHHH!!

And Fiance Shoes surprised me too—He was worried he’d just devolve into his drawing abilities of not-so-nice looking stick figures. Although he didn’t allow his own flavor in, I felt his painting was better than half the class!

Long story short—this was more fun than expected. I definitely enjoyed myself. Would I do it again? Not sure. I guess I’d rather still seek other experiences. But I’ll admit realizing that I could turn a blank canvas into something awesome was… well… an awesome feeling!

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